Kamishibai Boards: A Lean Visual Management System That Supports Layered Audits, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Kamishibai Boards

A Lean Visual Management System That Supports Layered Audits, 1st Edition

By Joseph Niederstadt

Productivity Press

120 pages | 69 B/W Illus.

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Part of the Toyota Production System, Kamishibai boards are simple and flexible visual controls for performing audits within a manufacturing process. When used properly, they are powerful tools for performing, managing, and auditing tasks of specific duties.

Kamishibai Boards: A Lean Visual Management System That Supports Layered Audits explains how to use thisvisual management system to identify normal conditions versus abnormal conditions in your organization. Filled with easy-to-follow instructions that require minimal training, it outlines a layered audit system for sustaining continuous improvement that can be applied to any organization in any industry.

The book includes a CD with master forms you can use to create your own daily, weekly, or monthly Kamishibai cards for any subject. The CD also includes electronic copies of all examples in the book.

Helping you focus on resolving abnormal situations, the book supplies the understanding required to make problems, abnormalities, and variations from the standard visible so corrective actions can be made right away—so you can spend more of your valuable time on achieving sustainable improvement.


The Kamishibai process is one of the simplest, but most effective, methods of visual management a company can put into place. It is self-managing, meaning you do not need sophisticated ‘systems’ to manage the process and has inherent built in layered audits. Joe Niederstadt does a great job of explaining how to use this tool. More importantly, he explains how to take this tool off the production floor and apply it in transactional processes in your back office or support functions. Follow this blueprint and you can create sustainable Lean processes in your organization.

—Tim Conrad, Director, Operational Excellence, Gates Corporation

Kamishibai is a great tool to implement a continuous improvement culture in any organization, and there must have been many books or white papers published on it so far, but very few of them are being written by an actual practitioner who has implemented this tool on his own. I have seen how Joe was instrumental in deploying Kamishibai at Gates India as Head-Operational Excellence-Asia Pacific. Joe’s enormous experience and profound knowledge has enhanced the authenticity of this book. I am extremely delighted that he is putting his invaluable experiences into words for the benefit of the thousands of young talents in the industries, which are keen to embrace the Lean Philosophy. I am sure the audience will find this book extremely helpful to comprehend the concept as Kamishibai and to roll it out in their respective areas.

—Chiranjib Biswas, VP of Finance Lean Practice & Organization Optimization, Royal Bank of Scotland, India

I spent 20 years working for the Gates Corporation from 1988-2009. We had always felt that we were a good manufacturing company but it wasn't until we embraced a holistic approach to Lean that we could 'see' the path to become a great manufacturing company. As President of Gates Corporation from 2007 to 2009, we accelerated our efforts on our path to being a great manufacturing company. Once the foundation is strong for Lean it becomes more important to have the factory communicate and become visual to make it 'easy to see' Lean.

The disciplined use of Kamishibai boards allows a factory to speak to the eyes of all employees. In his new book, Joe has been able to simplify the understanding of Kamishibai boards and as a result he has removed any of the hesitations and fears that arise during the change to lean. Joe is also able to provide a disciplined and yet calm approach to making audits a natural part of seeing a factory, a management team, and a business to confirm all actions needed to succeed.

—John Bohenick, President, SKF Sealing Solutions

Table of Contents

Introduction to Kamishibai

Formatting the Kamishibai Card

Who Should Use the Kamishibai System

Examples for the Who Should Use the Kamishibai System

How the Kamishibai System Works

Kamishibai for TPM


Other Business Applications



About the Author

Joseph Niederstadt was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in the early 1950s. Saginaw depended heavily on the automotive industry, as did many towns during this time period. Industry was booming and mass production was well on the way. The automotive industry employed tens of thousands in the area, providing a standard of living for those working in the factories that few have ever seen or probably will ever see again.

Like many others in the area, Niederstadt started work in a General Motors factory with the goal of making money and providing benefits for his family yet to come. He never realized that it was the beginning of a career in manufacturing that would span beyond 30 years. His experiences include furnace operator in a foundry, where one job was to rebuild the lining of an electric induction furnace 20 feet from the surface using a 90-pound jackhammer in over 100°F temperatures. Later, Niederstadt worked at the Chevrolet Motor Division and Delphi as an assembly line operator, as a water spider on an assembly line, then supervising machining, assembly, after market operations, quality control, production control and logistics, labor relations, Lean core team, supplier development, and international assignments. During this progression, he has never forgotten his roots as an operator and has always strived to make the work environment better for the operator.

Niederstadt has lived through the transition from mass to Lean production, from the "do as I tell you" mentality to a team-managed work system, from massive inventories to Just in Time (JIT) philosophies, from "run all you can every time you can" thinking to PULL systems (characterized by smaller batches, quick responses, to customer demand, and smooth product flow), from dedicated equipment to flexible cells, from hangeovers that took days that now take minutes, and the list goes on and on. He has been taught by several Senseis from Toyota and some of the best Lean people at other globally renowned and recognized businesses. The author not only adapted this training, teaching, and experience to his work, but he also applied it to his previous publication, Standardized Work for Noncyclical Processes(CRC Press, 2010), and to this book as well.

Niederstadt has successfully launched Lean journeys and implemented Lean applications throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, India, Korea, China, and Thailand, applying the Kamishibai system (a randomized as well as scheduled audit of process checks and standards) approach in this book. The author is currently owner and independent Lean practitioner at Gemba2win LLC (Centerville, Ohio).

In his first book, Niederstadt provided the reader with a methodology and tool to collect and see data about process waste that is generally overlooked. It is geared for those who wish to take their attack of waste to a new level.

In this book, the author provides a simple way to see "Normal" versus "Abnormal" quickly and easily: a tool to maintain standards or return to standards quickly through visual management; a system to engage all levels in an organization; a layered audit process to sustain your organization’s implementation of Lean. Remember, your competition hopes you do nothing! You can find out more about the author by viewing his profile on LinkedIn.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Manufacturing Industries